Rodrigo Elices, the Australian Hells Angels leader, was arrested at a luxury condominium in Bangkok after allegedly flying into Thailand on a private jet with a phoney Italian passport.
A remarkably clean cut. Rodrigo Elices, 31, also known as Elias, was detained on December 6, 2023, after flying into Bangkok with a fake passport and a 30-day tourist visa.
Rodrigo, who has a few tattoos, claimed to be an Italian named Gjini, according to Thai immigration, but a fingerprint check revealed he was supposedly an Australian motorcyclist at the centre of a heroin operation.
Immigration officials tracked him down to a posh apartment complex in Bangkok’s trendy downtown ThongLor district, where he was apprehended.
Thai investigators said Australian police informed them that Rodrigo was supposedly a significant player in a Hells Angels drug smuggling network and was facing charges for importing 14kg of methamphetamine.
Rodrigo was also wanted by authorities after a home in Kogarah was burned down in October 2022, severely injuring a 51-year-old man and reportedly exposing a narcotics ring.
According to Thai immigration, Rodrigo Elices (shown centre) claimed to be an Italian named Gjini, but a fingerprint check revealed he was supposedly an Australian Hells Angel motorcyclist at the centre of a heroin operation.
Detectives discovered 5.7kg of cocaine in the home, as well as $15,000 in cash and drug-manufacturing equipment. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the injured man and two others have been charged with drug crimes.
But Rodrigo allegedly fled Australia before cops could apprehend him.
Immigration officers showcased Rodrigos’ arrest at a news conference for Thai media, releasing shirtless photos of the Australian being questioned by officials.
He was handcuffed as detectives questioned him about his claimed links to narcotics syndicates and the purported phoney passport he used to flee to Thailand.
The clean-shaven purported Hells Angel biker, who has short hair and huge tattoos on his chest and stomach, was also pictured with immigration officers, who apprehended him.
An intricate infographic also detailed the immigration probe that revealed the false Italian’s identity as an Australian Hells Angel biker.
Rodrigo is still a significant suspect in Australia as the [alleged] commander of the Hells Angels gang, which is [supposedly] a drug distribution network, according to Police significant General Phanthana Nuchanart, Immigration Bureau Deputy Commander-in-Chief.
He is purportedly wanted on drug and firearms smuggling charges, with an arrest warrant out for 38 counts, including 36 weapons charges, one for the 14kg of meth, and one for involvement in a transnational criminal organization.
‘He also has a criminal record of attacking officials and robbery,’ the commander-in-chief claimed. ‘The investigation team looked into it till they discovered Rodrigo Elices had [supposedly] fled to reside in a fancy condo in Bangkok’s Thonglor district.
‘They came in soldiers and went to [arrest] Rodrigo, and after inspecting the room, they [supposedly] uncovered Rodrigo Elices’ Australian passport and Gjini’s Italian passport.’
An intricate infographic lays out the immigration probe, supposedly identifying the false Italian as an Australian Hells Angel biker. Both passports appear to depict the same man.
Major General Nuchanart added: “Australian police are coordinating with Thai police, so he was always [allegedly] attempting to flee.”
Rodrigo has been kept in detention while awaiting trial on Thai immigration charges before being deported back to Australia.
He was most recently convicted of affray at the Sydney Down Centre and sentenced to nine months of intense community correction, which expired in August.
NSW Police claimed they had no information about the foreign arrest, and the Australian Federal Police directed any inquiries to DFAT.
The arrival of the famed motorcycle gang Hells Angels in Thailand has piqued the interest of both residents and tourists.
The Hells Angels’ presence in Thailand has caused a stir in the country’s social scene, as they are known for their distinctive logo and reputation for living outside the bounds of mainstream society.
Their unorthodox lifestyle, complete with motorcycle trips and distinctive dress, has injected a sense of mystery into Thai streets.
The Hells Angels’ actions in Thailand have sparked conjecture and controversy. While some see them as a free-spirited group of motorcycle enthusiasts, others are concerned about their possible involvement in illicit activities.
Reports of conflicts with police enforcement and their presence in certain nightlife areas have sparked debate about their impact on Thai society.